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An American University project wants to develop best rights practices for producers. Profs. Pat Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi found filmmakers frustrated and broke because of escalating copyright costs. Example: The two Eyes on the Prize series are no longer distributed because (as the Washington Post reported) it would cost so much to renew archival footage rights. The foundation-backed project aims to give producers a sharper ken of copyright law. Too many pay royalties for material that’s in the public domain or should be regarded as fair use, such as incidental background music in docs, they said. See the short FAQ and 35-page report (both PDFs). The study is a major project of the Center for Social Media, directed by Aufderheide. Jaszi is a professor in AU’s law school.

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